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BIODYNAMIC ASSOCIATION ADOPTS SHARED LEADERSHIP
AND EVOLUTIONARY APPROACH TO WORK
Thea Maria Carlson Named Co-Director
Milwaukee, Wis. (Apr. 6, 2015) - Amidst the dominant agricultural paradigm of farms as inanimate factories, churning out commodity crops and animal products, biodynamics offers a radically different perspective: the farm is a living organism with its own inherent integrity, intelligence and health. The Biodynamic Association (BDA) is now working to embody a similar approach to how it operates as an organization, moving away from a traditional hierarchical and mechanistic organizational model to an agile, living approach to organizing its work. As a first step in this transformation, the BDA is pleased to announce that Thea Maria Carlson has been named Co-Director of the Association.
Thea has been serving as Director of Programs and will now work together with Robert Karp to collaboratively lead the BDA in its next steps to promote, support and develop biodynamic agriculture in North America. Inspired by the many pioneering businesses and nonprofits profiled in Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux, Thea and Robert have already begun to implement several of the “teal” organizational management principles outlined in the book, supporting staff in taking greater responsibility and ownership for their work through self-management practices, encouraging wholeness through incorporating biography and mindfulness into meetings, and tapping into the evolutionary purpose of the organization through ongoing collaborative visioning work.
As Steffen Schneider, BDA Board President, put it, “The BDA has grown significantly in recent years, and we want to build on that momentum. New opportunities are coming toward us each day to have a greater impact on agriculture. The implementation of these new management principles will enable our amazing team to respond all the more rapidly and creatively to these many opportunities.”
Thea, 33, brings youthful energy and enthusiasm as well as over a decade of experience in farming and gardening, community organizing, facilitation and nonprofit management. “Robert and I have developed a wonderful collaborative relationship over the past four years as we have worked together to build our conference, education, and research programs. I am enthusiastic to bring our collaboration to a new level as joint leaders of this historic and leading-edge organization,” said Thea.
In their collaborative effort to transform the BDA, Thea and Robert are looking not only to Reinventing Organizations, but also incorporating ideas and inspiration from the work of Otto Scharmer (including Theory U and Leading from the Emerging Future); from collaborative and agile methods of structuring daily work, such as Holacracy; and from the social and economic work of Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian writer, educator and social activist whose insights provided the basis for biodynamics.
“The move to a Co-Directorship is just one aspect of the organizational shift we are in the process of are making, which will change how all the staff work together as well as the board,” notes Robert. “We believe these changes will not only allow us to live the principles of biodynamics ever more fully in our work each and every day, but more importantly, allow us to design and implement more elegant and effective strategies to fulfill our mission in the world.”
The Biodynamic Association is a nonprofit association of individuals, groups and organizations in North America who are committed to healthy food, healthy soil and healthy farms. Founded in 1938, the BDA today serves thousands of gardens, farms, vineyards and agricultural operations striving to create diverse, balanced farm and garden ecosystems that generate health and fertility. Biodynamics is not just a holistic agricultural system, but a potent movement for new thought and practices in all aspects of life connected to food and agriculture.
If you are interested in talking with the BDA more about the organizational paradigm it is moving toward, you are welcome to join the discussion in the online forum at www.biodynamics.com/new-paradigm.
For more information on the BDA and biodynamics, visit www.biodynamics.com.